Holding the Mus-haf during salaah

Question: I carry a copy of the Qur’an while offering Salah (Prayer) behind the Imam (the one who leads congregational Prayer). It should be noted that I concentrate much and my mind does not go astray, and the moves I make in Salah are only for opening and closing the Qur’an. Is this permissible? I hope you will explain the issue!

Answer: The Ma’mum (a person being led by an Imam in Prayer) has to listen attentively to the recitation of the Imam and contemplate the Words of Allah they are hearing. They should not be distracted by anything as Allah (Exalted be He) says:

listen to it, and be silent that you may receive mercy. [Surah Al-A`raf, 7:204]

Imam Ahmad (may Allah be merciful to him) said that religious scholars agreed by consensus that this Ayah is about listening to the recitation of the Qur’an in Salah. holding a copy of the Qur’an while offering Salah behind the Imam for the sake of following the Imam causes the person to make repeated moves which distracts the people offering Salah around them. This may affect the perfection of submission and humbleness to Allah in Salah, so it is prescribed to abandon it.

May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!

[Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’, 5/383]

Ruling on praying in a mosque in which there is a grave

Question: Is it correct to pray in mosques in which there are graves?

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

Prayers should not be offered in mosques in which there are graves. The graves should be dug up and the remains transferred to the public graveyards, with each set of remains placed in an individual grave as with all other graves. It is not permissible for graves to be left in mosques, whether that is the grave of a wali (“saint”) or of anyone else, because the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade that and warned against that, and he cursed the Jews and Christians for doing that. It was narrated that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “May Allah curse the Jews and the Christians, for they took the graves of their Prophets as places of worship.” ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said, “He was warning against what they had done.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1330, Muslim, 529.

And when Umm Salamah and Umm Habeebah told him about a church in which there were images, he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When a righteous man died among them, they would build a place of worship over his grave and put those images in it. They are the most evil of mankind before Allaah.” (Saheeh, agreed upon. Al-Bukhaari, 427; Muslim, 528)

And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Those who came before you took the graves of their Prophets and righteous people as places of worship. Do not take graves as places of worship – I forbid you to do that.” (Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh, 532, from Jundab ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Bajali).  So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade taking graves as places of worship and he cursed those who do that, stating that they are the most evil of mankind. So we must beware of that.

It is known that everyone who prays at a grave is taking it as a place of worship, and whoever builds a mosque over a grave has taken it as a place of worship. So we must keep graves far away from the mosques and not put graves inside mosques, in obedience to the command of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and so as to avoid the curse issued by our Lord against those who build places of worship over graves, because when a person prays in a mosque in which there is a grave, the Shaytaan may tempt him to call upon the deceased or to seek his help, or to pray to him or prostrate to him, thus committing major shirk; and because this is the action of the Jews and Christians and we are obliged to differ from them and to keep away from their ways and their evil actions. But if the graves are ancient and a mosque was built over them, then it should be knocked down, because this is an innovated thing, as was stated by the scholars, and so as to avoid the means that may lead to shirk. And Allaah is the Source of strength.

[Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah li Samaahat al Shaykh Ibn Baaz 10/246]

The “prayer of need” and “prayer for memorising the Qur’aan”

Question: I have heard about the “prayer of need” (Salaat al-Haajah) and the “prayer for memorising the Qur.aan”. Are these actual prayers or not?

Answer:  Both of them are not correct. There is no such thing as “prayer of need” or “prayer for memorising the Qur.aan.” This is because these kinds of acts of worship can only be confirmed through legal evidences. Neither of these have any evidences for them that can be considered proofs and acceptable in Islaamic Law. Therefore, they are not sanctioned by Islaamic law.

[Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Fataawa al-Mar.ah]

Published: 18 October 1999

Ruling concerning women covering their feet in prayer

Question: What is the proof that women have to cover their feet during prayer for prayer to be accepted?

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

The free woman who has attained the age of majority is obliged to cover her entire body during prayer, apart from her face and hands, because all of her is ‘awrah. If she prays and any part of her ‘awrah becomes uncovered, such as a shin or foot or all or part of her head, then her prayer is invalid, because the Prophet said:
“Allaah will not accept the prayer of a woman who has started to menstruate, except with a khimaar (covering)” (Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Maajah and al-Tirmidhi, with a saheeh isnaad)

Abu Dawud reported from Umm Salamah that she asked the Prophet about a woman who prayed wearing a dir’ (chemise or upper garment) and a khimaar (head cover), but no izaar (lower garment). He said: “The woman is ‘awrah.”

As for the face, the Sunnah is to uncover it during prayer, so long as no non-mahram men are present. According to the majority of scholars, the feet must be covered; some scholars allow uncovering the feet but the majority say the opposite. Abu Dawud reported from Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that she was asked about a woman who prayed in a khimaar and qamees (dress or gown). She said, “There is nothing wrong with it if the dir’ (chemise) covers her feet.” In any case, it is better to cover the feet, to be on the safe side. As far as the hands are concerned, there is more leeway: there is nothing wrong with either covering them or uncovering them, although some scholars think that it is better to cover them. And Allaah is the Source of strength.

[Fataawa al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, by Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, p. 57]

A woman’s prayer in her home is better

Question: From that which is known is that the prayer of the woman inside her home is better than her praying in the masjid; So if she abandoned praying in al-Masjid al-Haraam (in Makkah) or al-Masjid an-Nabawee (in Madeenah) and (instead) prayed inside her home, would she be rewarded with the multiple reward for the prayer therein (as in al-Masjid al-Haraam and al-Masjid an-Nabawee)?

Answer: As regards Makkah, then the multiple (prayer) reward is attained in all of the Haram (sacred area). So if a woman prayed inside her home in Makkah, then she has attained the multiple (prayer) reward inshaa.-Allaah. As for Madeenah, then the multiple (prayer) reward is specific to al-Masjid an-Nabawee, however, if the woman prayed inside her home in Madeenah in accordance with the statement of the Messenger (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) then much good is anticipated for her, and she will be rewarded for her sincere intention and her love for (wanting to) pray in the Masjid of the Messenger (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam). And Allaah is the Most knowledgeable.

[Shaykh Saailh ibn Fowzaan, al-Muntaqaa min Fataawa Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan – Volume 3, Page 300, Fatwa No.442]

A woman correcting the recitation of the Imaam

Question: If a woman prays behind the men and the imaam errs in his recitation of the Qur.aan and no-one corrects him, is the woman allowed to correct him if she knows?

Answer: If this occurs during (the recitation of Soorah) al-Faatihah, then it is obligatory upon her to correct him, because if he errs in (the recitation of Soorah) al-Faatihah then his prayer is incorrect. If however it was in other than (the recitation of Soorah) al-Faatihah and the men are from those who are known to her and there would not be any cause for surprise if she spoke in front of them, then there is no harm in her speaking to correct the imaam. This is because the voice of the woman is not an ‘awrah (that has been legislated to protect and cover), and the evidence for this is His (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala) saying:

{…then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery) should be moved with desire…}, [Soorah al-Ahzaab, Aayah 32]

So the prohibition of being soft in speech is evidence as to the permissibility of the speech (of the woman).

[Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, I`laam al-Mu`aasireen bi-Fataawa Ibn `Uthaymeen – Page 58]